THE Malaysian women’s hockey team returned from their seven-match Tour of New Zealand on a high, and now they are confident enough to challenge the boys in the Junior Hockey League (JHL).
The women are preparing for the World Cup Qualifier in Santiago, Chile where they will be up against the hosts, Australia, Ireland, Scotland and Ukraine for the single ticket to the World Cup in Rosario, Argentina on Aug 29-Sept 11.
The women just returned from New Zealand where they played four matches against the NZ national team and lost 2- 0, 2-1, 2-0 and 4-0.
And in the three matches against the NZ development team, the ladies won 3-0, 3-0 and 4-3.
“We received confirmation from the FIH (International Hockey Federation) that the tournament will be held in Chile, even though the country was recently hit by a massive earthquake,” Said MWHF secretary S. Shamala.
“And during the New Zealand Tour, which was the first time NZ agreed to host the Malaysian women, the girls learnt much from the team which had beaten Australia for direct entry into the World Cup.
“The matches were of high intensity with a lot of body contact and robust play which gave us the opportunity to evaluate our attacking and defending strategies.
“And among the lessons learnt from the Tour were on penalty corner set-pieces and circle penetrations, which improved vastly,” said Shamala.
And now, the ladies are ready to challenge the boys in the JHL.
“We are grateful to the MHF (Malaysian Hockey Fed eration), for allowing the women to compete in the JHL. We have forwarded our training program and the MHF will prepare a schedule to accommodate us.
“We are certain the experience and competitive envi ronment will be of great benefit to us,” said Shamala.
To date, 16 teams have conformed for the JHL which will start on April 9.